Judge Orders RNC To Provide More Info On Alleged Poll Watcher Activities

Bill Clark/CQPHO

The federal judge presiding over the case brought by Democrats against the Republican National Committee alleging illegal RNC elections monitoring activities has ordered the RNC to provide more information regarding any poll watching initiatives.

The order, filed Wednesday, appears to be in response to evidence put forward by Democrats late Monday suggesting the RNC had sent poll observers to early voting sites in Nevada and then lied about it.

The RNC shall provide an “affidavit or affidavits by a person or persons with personal knowledge setting forth in detail Defendant’s efforts regarding poll watching or poll observation’ in connection with the 2016 Presidential Election,” the order, issued by U.S. District Judge John Michael Vazquez, said.

The order is broad and includes “any such efforts concerning early voting, Election Day at the polls, the counting of vote-by-mail/absentee ballots, and post-election canvassing when there may be disputes about counting the ballots of particular individuals” as well as “any material or advice regarding for whom the poll watchers or poll observers are working and how the poll workers or poll observers may, should, or must respond to any inquiries as to whom they are working for.”

The evidence is due Thursday at 5 p.m. ET.

The case concerns a consent decree the RNC agreed to in early 1980s that limited its so-called “ballot security” activities, after Democrats brought a lawsuit accusing it of voter intimidation tactics in the 1981 New Jersey gubernatorial race. The Democratic National Committee last week brought legal action accusing the RNC of violating the consent decree by assisting with the Donald Trump campaign in its calls for poll watchers. The RNC has maintained that it has followed the decree, and has claimed that it has not collaborated with the Trump campaign on elections monitoring activities in any way.

The DNC’s lawyers on Monday filed affidavits from three Democratic poll watchers who said that while observing early voting sites in Las Vegas, they met other observers who identified themselves as working for the RNC.

Earlier on Monday, Judge Vazquez ordered the RNC to hand over evidence of any RNC agreement with the Trump campaign to assist in poll observation. The judge has also requested evidence of ballot security initiatives that two state party officials, who are also RNC members, said they were planning to take on.

That evidence is due Wednesday at 5 p.m.

Read Wednesday’s discovery order below: